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Strong dividends despite profit dip

Total payout proposed by firms is more than Dh8bn so far. (SUPPLIED)

By Shveta Pathak

UAE firms continue to give generous dividends to shareholders despite a general fall in profits recorded by most for the financial year ending December 31, 2009.

The largest payout will be made by etisalat, which has recommended a 60 per cent dividend. The telecom operator will pay Dh4.3 billion, subject to shareholder approval.

Emirates NBD will pay Dh1.1bn as dividend, with the board of directors recommending a 20 per cent cash dividend.

In the case of Oman Insurance, while the cash dividend is 40 per cent, the stock dividend proposed by the board is 10 per cent.

Among other top dividend payers are Dubai Islamic Bank, over Dh689 million, First Gulf Bank Dh687.5m and Air Arabia about Dh467m, subject to shareholder approvals.

Total dividends proposed by the companies compiled by Emirates Business so far cross Dh8bn. Majority of the firms are yet to make their dividend announcement.

"UAE firms have generally continued their policy of returning cash to shareholders through dividend payments, particularly in the case of banks," said Ian Munro, Head of Research, Mac Capital Advisors.

Most UAE banks have declared cash dividends in spite of a fall in profits as a result of high provisions for non-performing loans. Dividend payments will infuse confidence among shareholders, say analysts.

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